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What’s Happening

For the Record

FYI

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Washington Report

Meeting Matters

Members at Large


What’s Happening

Use Toll-Free Number to Contact Academy’s New Service Center
To better serve its members, the Academy has launched both a centralized Service Center and, for phone calls from within the United States, a toll-free number: 888.393.3671. (You also can still call 415.561.8500. )

Now when you call the Academy you will be presented with three options.

  • Use the first option if you know your party’s extension or want to access the staff directory.
  • Use the second option if you want to ask Member Services staff a membership question.
  • The third option will change depending on the time of year. Currently, it directs you to someone who can answer your questions regarding CME credits or transcripts. Later in the year, this third option will direct you to someone who can answer your Annual Meeting questions.
  • If you do not select any of these options, your call will go directly into the Service Center. The Service Center handles all other calls, including operator transfers and product orders.

Academy Adopts ACS’ Expert Witness Affirmation
The Academy board of trustees approved adoption of the American College of Surgeons’ Expert Witness Affirmation which states that the witness will uphold certain professional principles in providing expert testimony.

The Affirmation is consistent with the Academy’s new ethics rule on expert testimony. It is intended for voluntary use by Academy members who wish to make explicit their commitment to knowledgeable and ethical expert witness testimony. By providing testimony that is fair and accurate, the expert can contribute to a just outcome and, ultimately, improve the quality of patient care.

The Academy fully acknowledges the ACS as the originator of the Affirmation and the accompanying introductory information.

To print these documents, go to www.aao.org/aao/member/ethics/ and click “Ethics related articles.”

Victory in the VA
The "VA no longer permits optometrists, even those properly licensed by Oklahoma, to conduct laser eye surgeries at its health care facilities," said Anthony J. Principi, outgoing Secretary of Veteran Affairs. In a Dec. 17 directive, the VA limits the performance of therapeutic laser surgery to qualified ophthalmologists. "It took many hands to bring around this directive," said H. Dunbar Hoskins Jr., MD, executive vice president of the Academy. "It could not have been done without the veterans themselves and the involvement of their congressional representatives. Academy members and staff also fought for our veterans by contributing time and dollars at extraordinary levels."

For more information about this important victory, go to "Government Affairs" at www.aao.org.

    For the Record

    Election Results
    On Oct. 25, voting opened for four positions on the Academy’s 2005 board of trustees and proposed amendments to the Academy’s Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws and Procedural Rules. One month later, voting closed and the results were as follows:

    • President-elect: Harry A. Zink, MD
    • Senior secretary for ophthalmic practice: David W. Parke II, MD
    • Secretary for Annual Meeting: Edward J. Holland, MD
    • Trustee-at-Large: Tamara R. Fountain, MD

    Visit www.aao.org/elections to see the ratified amendments to the Academy’s governance documents.

    Nominate a Colleague to the Academy Board
    By Allan D. Jensen, MD

    As past-president of the Academy, it is my privilege to serve as chairman of the Academy’s Nominating Committee in 2005. This committee represents a variety of interests within the Academy and is charged with identifying appropriate candidates for the open positions on the 2006 board of trustees.

    We are especially interested in cultivating leaders who have a clear vision of the future of organized medicine and who reflect the strength and diversity of our members.

    The Academy’s leaders should be knowledgeable, experienced and prepared to devote the time and energy required by a large organization in these challenging times. This work is both demanding and rewarding for those interested in helping to assure the Academy’s success and responsiveness to members. With these characteristics in mind, I ask you to assist the committee by suggesting appropriate candidates for the following positions in 2006:

    President-elect (to serve as president in 2007). Because the president-elect automatically becomes president the following year, it is crucial that nominees should be individuals who have had leadership experience within the Academy. They also should have demonstrated leadership qualities in clinical practice, in their own ophthalmic communities and in other medical or ophthalmological organizations.

    Senior secretary for advocacy (a three-year term). This senior secretary coordinates the Academy’s programs and activities that are developed through the secretariat for Federal Affairs and the secretariat for State Affairs. Randolph L. Johnston, MD, currently holds this office and is eligible to be nominated for a second term.

    Two trustees-at-large (four-year terms). These individuals should be Academy fellows or life fellows who are especially attuned to the needs and expectations of our members. In addition to demonstrating strong leadership potential, the trustee-at-large candidates must be willing to participate in the election process and be able to articulate their qualifications to represent a broad constituency.

    Two public trustees (a renewable three-year appointment; a trusted advisor to and member of the board of trustees). The bylaws allow the board to appoint up to three public trustees. We currently are well served by Humphrey J. F. Taylor and Paul B. Ginsburg, PhD. Mr. Taylor, chairman of Harris Interactive, completes his fourth term this year and is eligible to be nominated for a fifth term. Dr. Ginsburg, a nationally known economist and health policy expert, is president of Center for Studying Health System Change and is serving the third year of his first term.

    Public trustees do not vote on Academy governance, the budget or other programmatic issues. They do, however, provide insight on how ophthalmology can better work with the rest of medicine, the public, government and industry. A public trustee should not be an ophthalmologist, but should be someone who is familiar with and has a personal interest in current medical issues. The committee will be pleased to receive your suggestions for appropriate individuals, which may include physicians from other medical specialties or leaders in industry, government, public policy or advocacy.

    Membership participation is vital, not only for the Academy but also for our collective goals to be able to provide appropriate, accessible, affordable eye care to the public. I look forward to receiving your suggestions as we seek to identify the leaders among our members.

    Please send your confidential suggestions to me no later than Feb. 4 by mail: Allan D. Jensen, MD, Nominating Committee Chair, American Academy of Ophthalmology, P.O. Box 7424, San Francisco, CA 94120-7424, by fax: 415-561-8526 or by e-mail: nominate@aao.org.

    FYI

    Seeking Exemplars of Humanitarian Service
    Would you like to nominate a colleague for this year’s Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award? The Academy must receive your nomination by March 15.

    The award recognizes Academy fellows and members for outstanding contributions to humanitarian efforts, such as participation in charitable activities, care of the indigent and community service. It acknowledges those who have performed above and beyond the normal duties of an ophthalmologist.

    To obtain a nomination form, please contact a Member Services representative by phone, 888-393-3671 or 415-561-8581, fax, 415-561-8575, or e-mail member_services@aao.org. To complete a nomination form online, go to www.aao.org, and select “Member Services.”

    _____________________________
    Ophthalmology’s Greats

    The Academy is now accepting nominations for its highest honor—the Laureate Recognition Award.

    This award recognizes individuals from around the world who have made exceptional scientific contributions to the betterment of eye care, leading to the prevention of blindness and restoration of sight worldwide. In 2003, the inaugural Laureates were Charles D. Kelman, MD, Robert Machemer, MD, and Charles L. Schepens, MD. Last year, the Laureates were Danièle S. Aron Rosa, MD, PhD, J. Donald M. Gass, MD, and Marshall M. Parks, MD.

    For the 2005 Laureate Recognition Award, the deadline for submissions is March 31. To download a nomination form, visit www.aao.org/laureate.

    Academy Store

    Focal Points ’05
    For the latest clinical findings and step-by-step descriptions of diagnostic techniques and therapies, subscribe to 2005 Focal Points: Clinical Modules for Ophthalmologists.

    Every three months you’ll receive a packet of three modules, each of which can be read in a single sitting.

    This year’s titles include Wavefront Analysis, Strategies for Complicated Lens Surgery, Introductory Genetics for the Ophthalmologist, Infectious Posterior Uveitis and more.

    Regular features include Clinicians’ Corner (a lively, opinionated give-and-take between experts), Related Readings and Study Questions.

    For a free sample module, visit www.aao.org/focalpoints, where you can download LASIK Complications as a PDF file.

    Earn up to 24 CME credits with a one-year subscription ($140 for members and $199 for nonmembers), or save money by buying a multiyear subscription. New this year, you will be able to claim your CME online as you receive the modules.

    To order, visit www.aao.org/focalpoints, where you can also download individual modules from 2000–2003 ($20 each for members; $40 for nonmembers), or call Customer Service at 888-393-3671.

    Get Savvy to the Latest Coding Changes
    Use the American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives’ newest resources to get up to speed.

    • Coding References: Save 10 percent when you buy any four of the 2005 coding products: Ophthalmic Coding Coach; Ophthalmic Coding Series; Ophthalmic Coding FlipCards; ICD-9 for Ophthalmology (which comes with a searchable CD-ROM); CPT Standard Edition; CPT Professional Edition; HCPCS and CPT Pocket Guide for Ophthalmology.
    • 2005 Codequest programs: One-day training programs are cosponsored with state societies across the country.
    • Ophthalmic Coding Specialist (OCS) Exam: The AAOE and the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology have partnered to develop the OCS Exam.

    For more information on coding reference books, visit www.aao.org/store and search on the keyword “coding.” To see when Codequest comes to your state, visit www.aao.org/codequest. To sign up for the OCS exam, visit www.aao.org/aaoe or phone JCAHPO at 800-284-3937.

    Washington Report

    Boosting Medicine’s Voice on Capitol Hill
    Last November’s election results bring OphthPAC’s overall 2003–2004 success rate to 90 percent, surpassing its previous record of 85 percent achieved two years ago. By participating in more than 200 congressional races and contributing $1 million to federal candidates, OphthPAC helped to secure a more physician-friendly Congress.

    Physician Issues. OphthPAC’s success is significant because many physician issues, such as a fix to the sustainable growth rate flaw, could be affected by the makeup of the 109th Congress. Medical liability reform could see a surge of new support with the Senate’s increased Republican majority (which is now 10 seats) moving the leadership closer to the filibuster-proof 60 votes. The increase is also likely to affect the ratios on Senate committees, possibly giving Republicans a two-seat advantage over their Democratic colleagues. When Congress reconvenes this month, the U.S. House of Representatives will include 231 Republicans, 200 Democrats and one Independent. 

    OphthPAC Victories. Thanks in part to OphthPAC support, three physicians were elected to Congress: Tom Price, MD (R-Ga.), an orthopedic surgeon; Joe Schwarz, MD (R-Mich.), who specializes in otolaryngology; and Tom Coburn, MD (R-Okla.), a family physician. They will join the 11 physicians already serving.

    OphthPAC participated in 22 Senate races and won 19. OphthPAC’s biggest election night wins were in open seat Senate contests. The Academy’s strong support helped three of last year’s House members win their Senate bids: Reps. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and David Vitter (R-La.). All three support medical liability reform. Reps. Isakson and Vitter are VETS Act cosponsors.

    On the House side, OphthPAC participated in 189 races and won 164. The PAC helped in the re-election of VETS Act cosponsors, including four who were running in the nation’s most hotly contested races: Reps. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.), Chris Shays (R-Conn.), Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) and Pete Sessions (R-Texas). The re-election of supportive incumbents helps ensure continued support for the VETS Act and other issues of importance to Eye M.D.s in the 109th Congress.

    What You Can Do: For more details on election results and OphthPAC membership, go to www.ophthpac.org.

    Meeting Matters

    Chicago 2005
    The 2005 Annual Meeting program will highlight how technological advances are improving patient care. Join your colleagues October 15–18 for the Annual Meeting in Chicago.

    It is preceded by Subspecialty Day, Oct. 14–15, which features meetings in glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, refractive surgery, retina and uveitis.

    Course Abstracts Are Due by Jan. 11
    Abstracts for the 2005 Annual Meeting must be submitted online. The submission period for Instruction Courses and Skills Transfer Courses closes January 11. The submission period for scientific papers, posters, videos and exhibits will open March 16 and those abstracts must be submitted by April 12.

    For information on submitting an abstract, go to www.aao.org/meetings/annual_meeting. If you have additional questions, e-mail meetings@aao. org or phone 415-447-0343.

    Join Your Colleagues in Hong Kong for ISRS/AAO Meeting
    ISRS/AAO’s first international meeting, Emerging Trends in Refractive and Cataract Surgery, will take place in Hong Kong, May 14–16.

    Program directors Dennis S. C. Lam, MD, and Marguerite B. McDonald, MD, FACS, are planning an exciting program that will cover the latest innovations in refractive and cataract surgery.

    Abstracts for papers and posters will be accepted until Jan. 19 and registration opens on Jan. 5.

    For more information, visit www.isrs.org.

    Members at Large

    The Academy and SOE Tackle Leadership Development
    “This is an exciting new opportunity which should further advance the European Society of Ophthalmology [SOE] as an organization,” said SOE president Zdenek J. Gregor, MD, FRCS, FRCOphth, at the Opening Session of last year’s Joint Meeting in New Orleans.

    He was describing an SOE initiative that is being modeled on the Academy’s Leadership Development Program (LDP). The European program is being spearheaded by Stefan Seregard, MD, PhD, who is himself a graduate of the Academy’s 2003–2004 LDP, together with Marko Hawlina, MD, who is a participant in the Academy’s 2004–2005 LDP.

    Dr. Seregard, who is the scientific secretary of the Swedish Ophthalmological Society, and Dr. Hawlina, who is president of the Slovenia Society of Ophthalmology and the SOE’s director of education, were both nominated to the Academy program by the SOE.

    The SOE plans to launch its new program later this year in Berlin. It is the second international organization to use the Academy’s LDP as a template for its leadership development efforts.

    The Pan American Association of Ophthalmology also modeled its leadership program—the Curso de Liderazgo—after the Academy’s LDP. The Curso is now in its second year of implementation and accepts nominations from national ophthalmological societies in Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Who’s in the News
    Donald J. D’Amico, MD, commented on advances in the treatment of AMD in the Nov. 9 issue of The Wall Street Journal.

    Lee R. Duffner, MD, discussed the issue of whether or not sitting too close to a computer can harm the eyes in the September issue of Men’s Fitness.

    The New York Times interviewed Michael X. Repka, MD, for a Nov. 9 article on different treatment options for amblyopia. 

    James J. Salz, MD, was quoted in the August issue of Shape magazine, which discussed wavefront LASIK.

    People
    At a dedication ceremony, officials at the University of Iowa installed signage for the H. Stanley Thompson Neuro-Ophthalmology Clinic. The clinic was renamed to honor a leading figure in the history of neuro-ophthalmology.

    The American Medical Association’s board of trustees reappointed Kenneth D. Tuck, MD, to the board of directors of its political action committee.

    Women in Ophthalmology has named three new members to its board of directors: Dipali V. Apte, MD, Christie L. Morse, MD, and Mildred M. G. Olivier, MD.

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